Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Myra Ellen Jenkins



Honored June, 1986

Myra Ellen Jenkins

As state historian, teacher, scholar and friend, Myra Ellen Jenkins was an independent-thinking individual whose forthright opinions and feisty wit made an unforgettable impact on all those she met.

From 1960 until her retirement in 1980, she served as state archivist and as New Mexico's first state historian, making her reputation as the final authority on New Mexico history. Governor Bruce King called her "the most knowledgeable person in New Mexico about the state's history."

No ivory tower historian, "Dr. J." frequently served as expert historical witness who brought her knowledge of land grants into disputes on complex land and water rights issues entangled in three centuries of Spanish, Mexican, and American documents. Her 1974 book, A Brief History of New Mexico, co-authored with Al Schroeder, is still considered the most complete introduction to the state's history. A great defender and protector of New Mexico's heritage, she was responsible for keeping many documents within the state.